New forest bill runs into controversy
Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupendra Yadav introduced the Forest Conservation Amendment Bill in Lok Sabha. The Bill intends to exempt lakhs of hectares of forest land from mand- atory forest clearance laws. Environmentalists see the amendments as a dilution of strong forest laws, consequently degrading the existing forest. The introduced Bill, The Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023, will amend the existing Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (FCA). After the introduction, the Bill sent to the government recommended the JPC instead of the Parliamentary Standing Committee. The JPC is expected to submit its report in the Monsoon session, 2023. The Bill also emphasised on diversion of ‘deemed forest’ for non-forest use. The deemed forest is a kind of forest which is not notified as a forest, but in several governments’ records, it considers as forest.
Railways to install wifi at all stations
The Indian Railways has decided to provide WiFi facility at all stations, barring small halts in the country. In a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, Union Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that so far 6,108 railway stations out of more than 8,000, have been WiFi enabled. He said the provision of WiFi at stations depends upon the availability of infrastructure like optical fibre cable and other resources. Besides this, the minister also informed that Indian Railways is committed to make all stations and trains accessible for persons with disabilities (Divyangjans) as part of ‘Sugamaya Bharat Mission”. He added that the Indian Railways spent over Rs 1766.33 crore till February 23 this year under 2022-23 FY for customer amnesties. In 2021-22, the Railways spent Rs 1995.77 crore while during 2020-21, the Railways spent Rs 2582.82 crore and Rs 1903.10 crore in 2019-20 on customer amenities.
Rahul visits Cong’s office in Parliament
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday visited the party’s office in the Parliament House complex and met some members there. Gandhi spent around 20 minutes at the party office and met Shiv Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut and others. He later left along with his mother and Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi for lunch. He did not talk to media. Congress leaders K C Venugopal and Adhir Ranjan Chowdury were also present at the party’s parliamentary office. The Gandhi scion has been disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha after his conviction and two-year sentence by a Surat court in a defamation case pertaining to his comments on Modi surname.
Delhi-based NGOs get most foreign funds
The government on Wednesday informed the RS that the NGOs based in Delhi received the highest amount of foreign funds, followed by those based in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu out of the over `55,600 crore contribution sent to India from abroad in the last three years. Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said as per the FCRA 2010, every NGO which receives foreign funds has to submit an annual return along with the income and expenditure statement, and balance sheet every year.
Data of 2.63L co-ops ready in phase 1
Union minister for Cooperation Amit Shah on Wednesday informed the RS that the government has completed the first phase of mapping database of 2.63 lakh primary cooperative societies engaged in credit, dairy and fisheries. He said that the database is expected to be extended to cooperative societies of all other sectors by July this year. “The database would facilitate stakeholders in planning, formulation and implementation of appropriate policies for the cooperative sector”, the minister said.
14 lakh malnourished kids in india
India is now home to over 14 lakh severely malnourished children. Union minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani informed the RS, quoting data of government’s ‘Poshan Tracker’ that over 14 lakh severely malnourished children are living in the country. She said out of approximately 5.6 crore children measured in the February 2023, the per cent of severely malnourished children is 2.6 % which run into around 14, 56,000 children of total number of them measured by the government.
Over 11k sc/st students drop out from cUs
Over 11,000 students from Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) dropped out from 45 Central Universities (CUs) in India from 2018 to 2013, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Wednesday. While over 4,000 students from these three categories dropped out from the IITs in the last five years, a total of 366 students belonging to SC, ST and OBC categories dropped out from IIMs in the same period, said MoS for Education Dr Subhas Sarkar in a written reply. Giving data, the minister said that 6,901 OBC students left CUs, 3,596 SC dropped out, and 3949 ST students didn’t pursue their education. Similarly, in IITs, 2,544 OBC students dropped out, while 1,362 SC and 538 ST students didn’t pursue their courses.
Compiled by Rajesh Kumar Thakur, Jitendra Choubey, & Kavita Bajeli-Datt